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Title: Achieving Reversible H2/H+ Interconversion at Room Temperature with Enzyme-Inspired Molecular Complexes: A Mechanistic Study

Inspired by the contribution of the protein scaffold to the efficiency with which enzymes function, we report the first molecular complex that is reversible for electrocatalytic H2 production/oxidation at room temperature in methanol. [Ni(PCy2NPhe2)2]2+ (CyPhe; PR2NR’2 = 1,5-diaza-3,7-diphosphacyclooctane, Cy=cyclohexyl, Phe=phenylalanine), shows reversible behavior in acidic methanol with peripheral phenylalanine groups providing key contributions to the catalytic behavior. The importance of the aromatic rings is implicated in achieving reversibility, based on the lack of reversibility of similar complexes, [Ni(PCy2NAmino Acid2)2]2+, containing arginine (CyArg) or glycine (CyGly). A complex with an added OH group on the ring, (CyTyr; Tyr=Tyrosine), also shows similar behavior. NMR studies reveal a significantly slower rate of chair-boat isomerization for the CyPhe relative to other derivatives, suggesting that the aromatic groups provide structural control by interacting with each other, an observation supported by molecular dynamics studies. NMR studies also show extremely fast proton movement, with a proton pathway from the Ni-H through the pendant amine to the –COOH group. Further, studies of acomplex without the –COOH group, [Ni(PCy2NTym2)2]2+ (CyTym; Tym=Tyramine), are not reversible and have slow proton movement from the pendant amine, demonstrating the essential nature of the –COOH group in achieving reversibility. Finally, methanol is demonstrated tomore » play a critical contributing role. The influence of multiple factors on reversibility for this synthetic catalyst is a demonstration of the intricate interplay between the first, second, and outer coordination spheres and resembles the complexity observed in metalloenzymes.« less
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
44681; KC0302010
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: ACS Catalysis, 6(9):6037-6049
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
Reversible electrocatalysis; hydrogen production/oxidation; outer coordination sphere; renewable energy; enzyme mimic; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory